Broken Ribs Compensation Claims

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If you're experiencing the anguish and discomfort of having broken ribs due to someone else's carelessness or negligence, it's important to understand you may be entitled to a rib injury compensation claim.

Understand your rights and obligations, the common types and causes of such injuries, how your compensation amount will be calculated, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim according to Queensland law. 

Smith's Lawyers team of experts for broken rib injury claims offer free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in hospital, in-office or via phone. We operate Queensland wide and all claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.

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Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Understanding Your Rights After a Broken Rib Injury in Queensland

Broken ribs can severely impact your life. Rib fractures complicating trauma are common in Australia, occurring in 20-40% of blunt chest trauma patients. However, it is not only the injured person that is impacted, much of the financial burden often rests on the families of the injured. If you've had the misfortune of suffering an injury as a result of someone else's negligence, you should be aware of your rights to compensation in Queensland. 

Below are the main compensation schemes specific to the region: 

  • Road and Car Accidents: The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claims scheme in Queensland entitles victims of negligent driving to claim compensation for their injuries. This covers both motorists such as being involved in a car accident and pedestrians.
  • Work Accidents: WorkCover Queensland provides a statutory claims process for workers who have been injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault. In situations where your employer's negligence has caused your injury, you can also file a common law claim for compensation.
  • Public Place Accidents: If your injury occurred in a public place due to someone else's negligence, you can lodge common law claims for compensation against the public liability insurer of the place where the incident happened.
What is a Broken Rib Injury?

A broken rib injury, medically termed a rib fracture, is a condition where one or more of the bones in the rib cage get cracked or broken. This tends to occur as a result of direct impact or pressure, such as that experienced during a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or when something heavy lands on you. Ribs are essential for protecting your vital organs including the heart and lungs, thus making this injury potentially serious. 

The pain of a broken rib can be sharp or dull and typically gets worse when you breathe deeply, cough, or move your upper body. It may also lead to serious complications including punctured or collapsed lungs, damaged organs, and infection from injury to the chest cavity. Therefore, immediate medical attention is essential if you suspect a broken rib. 

Furthermore, broken ribs also have the potential to influence your daily life drastically. The extensive pain and discomfort can limit your ability to move around freely, participate in physical activity, or even sleep comfortably.

Common Causes of Broken Rib Injuries

Rib fractures (also known as ‘broken’ ribs) are one of the most common injuries to the chest. They can occur in a variety of circumstances and are often the result of trauma to the chest, such as extreme pressure or sudden blunt impact to the area. 

The following are some common causes of broken rib injuries: 

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: High-impact collisions involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians. 
  • Falls: A fall from height or even tripping over can put excessive pressure on the ribs, causing them to break.
  • Workplace Accidents: Accidents at work, especially in high-risk environments like construction sites, can lead to rib injuries.
  • Sports Injuries: Contact sports, extreme sports, or any physical activity involving falls or impacts can result in such injuries. 
  • Physical Assaults: A punch, kick, or blunt force trauma to the chest can cause rib fractures. In cases of assault, you may be entitled to a compensation claim.
Common Types of Broken Rib Injuries

Approximately 15% of all chest injuries are caused by broken ribs. Due to the protective cage structure of the ribs, fractures often require significant force. Here are some common types of broken ribs seen in road, workplace, and public place injuries in Queensland:

1. Non-displaced Fractures:

  • These are the most common and involve a break in the rib bone without misalignment of the bone fragments. They typically occur with falls from moderate heights or direct blows to the chest.

2. Displaced Fractures:

  • More severe than non-displaced fractures, these involve bone fragments shifting out of position. They occur in high-impact collisions, falls from significant heights, or crush injuries.

3. Comminuted Fractures:

  • These involve the bone shattering into multiple pieces, often caused by high-energy impacts. They pose a higher risk of internal organ damage and require intensive medical intervention.

4. Greenstick Fractures:

  • These are incomplete fractures, typically seen in children due to their more flexible bones. They occur with moderate falls or blows to the chest.

5. Flail Chest:

  • This serious injury involves three or more adjacent ribs broken in multiple places, causing a segment of the ribcage to detach and move independently during breathing. It's most common in high-impact crashes.
Workers Most at Risk of Broken Rib Injuries

While anyone can sustain a rib injury, certain professions and industries report a disproportionately high number of cases. This may be due to specific workplace conditions, the nature of the tasks performed, or the increased probability of accidents.

Some of the most high-risk occupations for broken or bruised ribs include:

  • Construction Workers: Those working in construction are often exposed to falls from height, heavy machinery use, and the possibility of objects falling from above, all of which can lead to rib injuries.   
  • Transport Industry Employees: Workers in this sector, especially truck drivers and delivery personnel are at risk due to road traffic accidents, vehicle collisions, or sudden stops.   
  • Agricultural Workers: Farm workers, and those in similar outdoor occupations, face the risk of injury from heavy machinery, unpredictable animals, and demanding physical labour.   
  • Healthcare Personnel: Particularly those in emergency services. They can incur injuries while manoeuvring patients, dealing with emergencies, or due to accidents in high-pressure environments. The healthcare industry accounts for the largest proportion of claim lodgements in Queensland. 
  • Warehouse and Factory Workers: The use of heavy machinery, manual handling of goods, and potential for falling objects increase the probability of rib injuries in these workplaces.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

The Rib Injury Compensation Claim Process

If you've suffered from broken or bruised ribs in Queensland due to a road accident, work incident, or an accident in a public area, it's crucial to understand the process for making a personal injury claim. 

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek free initial legal advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for broken rib injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage a personal injury lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates on. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather evidence to build your case

Once your compensation matter is opened you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File your rib injury claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives) such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate with the at-fault party's insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most rib injury compensation cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged to lead the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is not successful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you cannot not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax free compensation settlement. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, initiating a rib injury claim can be a complex process. We recommend you seek legal advice from legal professionals. At Smith's Lawyers, you can start by requesting a free case review.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Broken Ribs Compensation Claim?

For a successful claim, gathering the necessary pieces of evidence is crucial. This evidence is key in getting you the compensation you deserve and will be used to support your case. 

Here's a list of what you might need: 

  • Medical records: These should be detailed and explicitly confirm that you sustained a rib fracture due to the incident in question. This can include X-rays, CT scans, and the doctor's report following your examination.
  • Incident reports: Whether the accident occurred at work, on the road, or at a public place, filing an incident report at the time of the incident provides objective evidence that your injury took place.
  • Photographs: If possible, take photographs of the accident site, your immediate injury, and anything else that could verify the event and its seriousness.
  • Personal diary: Start maintaining a personal diary noting the effect of the injury on your day-to-day life, including any pain and suffering or restrictions in movement.
  • Witness statements: If there were any witnesses to your accident, their accounts may strengthen your claim.
  • Financial records: Any documentation that reflects your financial losses connected with the injury, such as medical bills or a dip in earnings, will provide solid proof for your claim for monetary damages.

How Much Compensation for Broken Ribs

The amount of compensation for fractured ribs is not a fixed sum. It varies based on several factors.

These include:  

  • Severity of the Injury: The impact of the injury on your daily life, along with required rehabilitation and recovery time, directly influences the compensation amount. More severe rib fractures warrant a higher claim.
  • Impact on Employment: If the injury forces you to take time off work, reduces your capability to perform tasks, or even impedes your career progression, these financial losses are considered in calculating the compensation.
  • Cost of Medical Care: This includes present and future medical expenses associated with the injury, from the initial treatment right through to necessary rehabilitation.
  • Age: Your age plays a pivotal role in the claim as it gauges the potential work years lost due to your injury.
  • Psychological Trauma: In some cases, the psychological distress stemming from the accident can be factored into the compensation amount.

To illustrate this, let's consider two victims of a similar broken rib injury:

John, a 30-year-old construction worker, has 20 more years of physically demanding work ahead of him that might be impacted by the injury.

On the other hand, Margaret, a 60-year-old retail assistant approaching retirement, may not see the same impact on her professional life.

Though their injuries are similar, the effects on their careers and future earnings could result in vastly different compensation amounts. 

These cases illustrate why it’s vital to have expert representation from a law firm to ensure your claim accurately reflects the full impact of your broken rib injury, and that you receive all the compensation you're entitled to.

Time Limits for Broken Rib Injuries

The typical time limit for broken rib claims resulting from road, workplace, or public liability accidents is usually three years from the date of injury.

More specifically, for work-related injuries, in Queensland you have:

  • 6 months from when the entitlement to compensation arises (this is usually when the injury occurs, or the day on which the individual is assessed by a doctor) to lodge a claim with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's workers' compensation insurer if self-insured). This is an essential first step for all cases regardless of fault.
  • 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start court proceedings for a common law claim. These claims can be run in addition to a standard WorkCover claim where the negligence of your employer or another party caused or contributed to your accident and injuries.

For motor vehicle related injuries, in Queensland you have:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months, but must be within 3 years of the accident or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run) or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3 month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9 month limit otherwise you will be barred from making a claim
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Primarily, if the victim is under 18, the three-year period doesn't begin until their 18th birthday. This extends the total possible claim period, giving minors longer to decide whether they wish to pursue a claim.

It is always advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible after an accident, as proving negligence or liability often becomes more difficult over time due to factors such as lost evidence. 

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free, no-obligation case reviews to help you understand your legal rights and determine your eligibility for a claim following an injury. We are experts in managing personal injury claims, including cases related to broken ribs.

Our risk-free promise - No Win, No Fee, No Catch® - means you can confidently seek our expert advice and representation without fear of unexpected costs. So, don't let the time limit discourage you. Reach out to us, and let's get your claim process started as soon as possible.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I claim compensation if my broken rib injury occurred at work?

Absolutely, if your rib injury occurred at work in Queensland, you are entitled to make a compensation claim. It's vital that the injury is reported in your workplace's accident records and that you seek immediate medical attention.

Ensure that you gather evidence including any possible witnesses and the working environment where the accident happened.

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How can a broken rib injury impact the ability to work?

These types of injuries can significantly impact your ability to carry out your usual work duties. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could:

  • hamper your mobility
  • limit physical exertion
  • cause intense pain while bending or lifting objects

This means your earning potential could be negatively influenced during the recovery period, warranting a compensation claim.

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How long does a broken ribs compensation claim take to settle in Queensland?

Usually, it takes anywhere between 12 to 18 months, but this duration could be extended if your case is complex or if there are delays in receiving medical opinion. It's vital to remember your patience is crucial for achieving the maximum potential compensation.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No, our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim.

Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court, and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Broken Ribs compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
February 19, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.